Category: General

Ready for Your Winter Vacation?

Whether you are a snowbird or just taking your family on a vacation this holiday season, there are several things you can do to help protect your vacant home from theft, water damage, heating or possible threats while away.

Make Sure Others Think You are Home

  • Forward or stop your mail through the post office.
  • Arrange for someone to remove the snow.
  • Ask a friend or relative to check on home and remove fliers or other items left by your front door.
  • Add exterior motion-sensor lights and interior lights on timers. Set the interior lights to come on at varying times.

Protect Your Home from Thieves

  • Install and activate your alarm systems
  • Secure external doors and windows with deadbolts, security hinges and sturdy door frames.
  • Store valuables that are not with you in a safe deposit box or other secure offsite location.
  • Do not post on social media about traveling until you have returned. Thieves can use this information to learn that your house is vacant.

Avoid Water Damage

  • To reduce the risk of water damage from pipe burst or leaks, consider turning off the water supply. Check with your plumber to see what this entails and if it is right for your home as it may also affect your heating system, sprinkler system, etc.
  • If you need to keep your water supply on, keep the furnace running to help ensure the home stays warm and pipes do not freeze. The suggested temperature is 55 degrees.  You can still shut the water off to certain appliances, like washer, dryer, refrigerator, etc. to avoid any leaks or water damage.
  • Consider shutting off and draining any outdoor water faucets to prevent vandalism and freezing damage.

Perform Maintenance

  • Have your heating system inspected, fill fuel tanks and have a friend/relative to check on the heat and fuel levels while you are gone.
  • Have your home electrical system inspected and repair or replace items that may be needing attention.
  • Inspect your roof and clean your gutters to prevent ice build-up.
  • Remove any dead trees or overhanging limbs that could damage your house while away.
  • Unplug all unnecessary appliances before your leave.
  • If you have a telephone land-line, make sure you are able to retrieve your voice mail messages.

Clean your Home to Minimize Pest Invasion

  • Clean your home thoroughly to minimize the reasons for any pests to move in.
  • Clean, unplug, and defrost refrigerators and freezers. Wipe them dry and leave doors propped open to prevent mildew.
  • Clean the oven.
  • Give away or throw out any uneaten food
  • Inspect and repair any openings for small animals to enter your home.

Be Ready for Emergencies

Have a trusted friend or relative to keep an eye on the home and be available in emergency situations.  Give them access to your home to check on it whenever possible.

For any questions on this article or home insurance needs, just send us a note.

(Source for article Travelers Insurance)

Having a Fun & Safe Halloween Season

In 2014, Americans spent over $2 million in Halloween decorations.   As you are preparing your front yards for the ghouls and goblins to trick or treat this season, keep in mind the best ways to set up your home to minimize your risks while having fun.

Walk your Yard at Night

During the day, you don’t always see the hazards in your yard, like extensions cords, exposed roots, holes, etc.  By finding these ahead of time, you can fix or mark them for people to avoid them in the dark.  Make sure your front yard and walkway are well-lit so that those unfamiliar with your home can navigate safely to receive their treats.

Decorating Smartly

Here are a few things to avoid while decorating:

  1. Do not place decorations in the main traffic flow patterns in your yard.
  2. Avoid open flame or costumes/fabrics that drape over light bulbs that may cause a fire or harm to young trick or treaters.
  3. Avoid dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper near any sort of heat source because they are highly combustible.
  4. Never staple or nail through or fasten electrical wiring or extension cords in any way because it may damage the wire or insulation to cause a fire hazard.

These are a few tips to keep your Halloween festivities fun and enjoyable.  Happy Halloween from your friends at All-Time Insurance!